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Peru's efforts to curb carbon emissions


12-05-2014 14:40 BJT

Full coverage: UN Climate Change Conference 2014

As the host of this year's World Climate Talks, what has Peru been doing to reduce carbon emissions?

Wind, it's about as renewable as energy comes, and here on the Peruvian coast, 500 kilometers south of Lima, it hardly ever stops blowing. Spanish company Cobra is harvesting that energy at Peru's first wind farm with 11 turbines.

Generating 32 megawatts per hour, it's enough to supply 30-thousand households.

"We don't consume petrol or gas," community relations officer of Cobra Lourdes Llana said.  "We don't use any depletable resource. Our raw material is the wind which is inexhaustible, so we generate energy without creating any waste."

It's a tiny fraction of the energy supplied to Peru's national grid, but it's a start.

Wind power already supplies a third of Spain's energy demands, and the company sees great potential in Peru.

"Why here The answer is obvious, as I'm almost being blown away," Llana said. "We've measured the wind here and it blows at 10 meters per second for 4,400 hours a year."

It's also viewed by many as a safe investment thanks to tax breaks for clean energy.

Clean energy incentives for companies mean investors are lining up to get into the renewable energy business in Latin America. This emerging market is giving a whole new value to barren, windy places like this.

Energy demand in Latin America is expected to double in the next decade, and Peru is no exception. But with abundant hydro-electric power and ample gas fields, Peru is slow to embrace new sources of energy.

"At the moment, renewable energy represents 3.5 up to 4% of the country's energy mix. Our idea is to increase this to 5% by the end of this decade," Peruvian Energy and Mines minister Eleodoro Mayorga said.

As costs for clean energy alternatives come down, the energy specialist of World Wildlife Fund Tabare Arroyo Curras said:" Renewable energy is not only good for environmental reasons, it's not only good because of climate change, renewable energy is absolutely good because of the co-benefits and when we're talking about energy security. We're not only talking about sufficiency of resources because renewable energy empowers the nations to be self-sufficient."

At a time when the reduction of emissions from fossil fuels is more urgent, Latin America could become a world leader in clean energy.

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